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Man kills five in rural Hyogo stabbing spree

AFP-JIJI, JIJI

A man suspected of stabbing five people to death at a family home in a rural area of Hyogo Prefecture was being questioned by police Monday, with reports saying that the suspect was a hikikomori (social recluse) who lived nearby.

Media descended on the usually quiet island of Awaji, with helicopters hovering over the farm where the five were slain some time before 7 a.m.

Police called to the scene found the bloodied bodies of a man and a woman, both around 80 years old, in the main house on the farm.

Two unconscious women around 60 and 80 years old were discovered in another building, while a badly injured man in his 60s was found outside.

All three were rushed to a hospital where they were later confirmed dead.

Authorities arrested Tatsuhiko Hirano, a 40-year-old unemployed man, a police spokesman said, with reports saying he initially admitted to the multiple murders.

Hirano lives in the area with his father and grandmother.

Local residents said he rarely leaves his home and has largely been isolated from society since his school days.

The hikikomori phenomenon rears its head fairly frequently in the country. Often it applies to maladjusted people in their late teens or early 20s who shut themselves away for years at a time in their parents’ homes, many living in darkened bedrooms with little or no human contact.

While many eventually emerge, others continue well into adulthood, protected from the pressures of life by doting but aging parents.